Ethan Crelinsten’s Sneaky Rear Naked Choke Trick

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Ethan Crelinsten beat Fabricio Andrey by rear naked choke at WNO’s November 2022 event.​

Ethan’s whole sequence that led to the finish was beautiful — he wrestled up from the reverse de la riva, caught Fabricio with the rear body lock, returned Fabricio to the mat, and took Fabricio’s back from the turtle position. Now you can watch the whole match for free on YouTube.

​While rewatching his sequence and finish, I noticed Ethan did something I completely overlooked the first time I watched the match. I bet most people would miss it though… because he does it quickly.​

Check this GIF before you read on and see if you’ll notice what’s happening. If you get it at the first viewing, I applaud you.

​Ethan’s sneaky rear naked choke trick I’m talking about is this:​

When Ethan initiates rear naked choke, his right arm is his choking arm. That is, he is using his right arm to strangle Fabricio. But as soon as Fabricio tries to reach for Ethan’s right hand and try to peel it off, Ethan lets go of his right arm and switches to his left arm as his choking arm.​

Did you notice it?​

This switch is so smooth it’s ridiculous.​

Let’s take a look at what’s happening in this rear naked choke sequence step by step, starting from when Ethan goes for rear naked choke with his right arm.​

Fabricio reaches for Ethan’s right hand, trying to defend against rear naked choke.

Ethan probably expected this defensive reaction. So he starts moving his left arm right away.

​Ethan extends his left arm as if he’s reaching for the ceiling.

​It looks as though Ethan is using his left armpit and right hand to knock down Fabricio’s left hand. Ethan’s arm is still extended, now more towards his right shoulder.

​Ethan replaces his right arm with his left arm, which he uses to wrap Fabricio’s neck. Also, notice Ethan is moving his head from the left side of Fabricio’s head to the right side as he replaces his right arm with his left arm to match his head position with his arm position. (i.e., If you are strangling your opponent with your right arm, you must place your head on the left side of your opponent’s head, and vice versa.)

​Ethan brings his right hand behind Fabricio’s head and completes setting up rear naked choke.

​It’s essentially a variation of what Ethan shows as “Switcharoo” in his BJJ Fanatics instructionals Finish on the Back, though the way he does it in this match is a bit different from what he shows in the instructionals.​

It can be difficult to finish your opponent with rear naked choke when they hand-fight well. But Ethan’s technique can help you overcome your opponent’s defense. If you want to improve your rear naked choke success rate, watch Ethan’s switch over and over.​

Practice it so you can start doing the same when you go for rear naked choke.

If you are curious about how Ethan took Fabricio’s back, read this post on Ethan’s wrestling up sequence.